Saturday, December 18, 2010

Back to Jerusalem

I have recently started to read a book called “Back to Jerusalem.” Most people may have heard about the book, or at least something about the “Back to Jerusalem” mission that many Chinese believers have committed their lives too. If you have not heard about it, I will give a quick summary on it.

In a nut shell, the Chinese Christians believe that they have an access to the East and Middle East that the West does not have. There is not as much tension and hatred towards the Chinese, so they are tolerated much more than if someone from the West would go in with the Word. By not having that tension they are able to open up and communicate with people that may have never been reached by others from the West. Also, Between the Chinese and Jerusalem is three major global religions that they will come across and be able to evangelize. They are Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism. I encourage you to read more about this movement.

The first chapter talks about the growth of Christianity in China, especially focusing on the last 200 years. While I was reading I came across an interesting quote from a Chinese onlooker listening to a sermon by a Chinese Christian. Before you read it, I want to say something about why this quote was mentioned. This section was talking about what little success the foreigners were having spreading, what was considered, a “foreign religion” to the Chinese. However, the foreigners coming in started to realize that growth started to happen when they started to equip and enable the native Chinese Christians and then got out of their way and let them do the work. What happened is growth started to happen at a faster rate.

After all this was said it brought me up to this quote by the onlooker:

Once a forest was told that a load of axe-heads had come to cut it down. “It doesn’t matter in the least,” said the forest, “they will never succeed by themselves.” When, however, it heard that some of its own branches had become handles to the axe-heads, it said, “Now we have no chance.”

So as long as we only had foreigners to deal with, we were safe, but now that everywhere our own countrymen are enlisted on that side, certainly Christianity will flourish and conquer us.

I thought this was an excellent quote, and it teaches a great lesson. I hope this encourages anyone who reads this to carefully consider the words of an “onlooker.” It is important to ask the question, “Am I doing what I want to or what He wants me to do?”, or even, “Am I doing what my cultures says to do or His Word says to do?” One of the most amazing things about God’s creation is that He made us all different. Not only did He create us different but He established different cultures for us to live in and to experience, sometimes even within our own culture. What is even greater is that He gave us a Gospel that can be learned, obeyed, taught and applied in any culture, at any period of time. It is our job to make sure that we trust His plan and learn that “our way” may not always be the best.